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Trump Facebook Ban Upheld. Should He Be Allowed to Return?

After the year 2020 turned out to be, no one was expecting the new year to kick off quite the way it did. Not even a full week into the new year, when on January 6th, the United States Capitol was stormed by a mob of people in a riot, incited by the Formet U.S. President Donald Trump himself, making the false claim that the 2020 election had been “stolen” from him. Five deaths, 140 injured later, Trump was banned from social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Youtube, Google, and yes, the golf enthusiast managed to even get himself banned from Pinterest. OnlyFans was left wide open in case he needed a saving grace for his career.

Furthermore, Faecbook expressed that companies and indivudals praised the corporation for taking such actions, with some people making the under-the-cuff statement, that the former president should have been banned a long time ago.

Criticisim to the decision was still very present, as there were those who disagreed with Facebook’s decision commenting that it was unaccessible for them to exercies their corporate power over politcal speech, and that large corporations shouldn’t be the ones to make these forms of decisions. However, Facebook backed their decision by commenting that even politicians have to abide by ‘Community Guidelines’, and while it is true that in an open democracies, publics have a right to hear all that politicans are putting out there, whether it is good or bad, but:

Facebook made a big fuss about their decision being based on open democracy, but the decision itself is the problem, free spech against political stability.

Democrats blamed Trumps social media presence as one of the reasons he was elected to office in 2016, and there is an element of truth behind that. Trump created his own echo chamber through Twitter, and strategically used it to keep everyone updated on his thoughts, whatever they were — if he thought he used his 280 characters to say it. While many Democrats criticsized and mocked his use of social media, in his own little bubble he helped cement a mass ideology withing a subgroup of individuals who continue to contribute and support the narrative they are being provided.

Throughout the general elections in 2020, social media was divided into two echo chambers, as democrates and liberals took to social media, both believing in their own leaders running for President, therefore creating two versions of America, those that believed wholeheartedly in Trump, and the hopefuls that supported Joe Biden.

The decision that the Board took was one that left the door ever so slightly ajar, likely leaving the Republicans very happy, as applying their current type of ban does not follow any clear procedure.

The Boards language to describe their decision also employed a very much an it’s a ‘somebody else’s problem’ attitude as the language they used was designed to avoid responsibility. Their decision could set a lowert threshold from harm as it would set a precedent of severe penalties for politicals globally, who make harmful statements, however it outweights free speech.

His decision might have in fact almost broken the notion of open democracy- this not being the first time it has happened. In 2019, Facebook decided to place a global ban on political ads, however then allowed the platform to run false political advertisements. This decision amplified the belief that Facebook is driven by their desire to maximise profits and saying ‘screw you’ to ethics.

Trump ran a lie that former Vice President Joe Biden had gotten a Ukranian prosecuter sacked in order to stop an investigation into his son’s business dealings. This story was proven to be untrue as it was revealed that the prosecutor was fired to eliminate corruption in Ukraine. In this case, Facebook refused to pull down the ads.

Why was Facebook adamant to regulate political advertisements but allowed for these false advertisements to trickle thought? Why did from 2019, only take till 2021 for Facebook to finally take a decision on the constant misinformation Trump tweets out?

Free speech and paid speech are two very different ideas. If as a corporation you plan to ban all political ads so as to avoid misinformation then apply that thoroughly by including paid ads in the policy, otherwise leave free speech as it. Many individuals who do not want to conform to the echo chamber that Trump has so cozily created is simple, they opt-out of subscribing to any of his social media channels, and therefore they are not sucked in to his chaos.

Zuckerberg might have based his decision in 2019, after the dollar signs in his eyes glazed over the thought of paid political ads generating $420 million in revenue, howeverm misinformation affects everyone alike, and allowing politicians to manipulate their messaged and audiences is not worth even $1 of that 400 million.

Revoking Trumps platforms, was a good spank on the bottom for the orange troll to realise how much control the giants behind social media have and perhaps even shine a light on his (mis)use of social media. But it is not open democracy to not give him any platform to share his thoughts, no matter how wrong they are.

There is no garauntee that Trump will not incite any more mobs, as even though banned he still managed to release a message which read:

In a better world, no single platfrom would have such influence and power through its algorithms, advertising and network effects to amplify dangerous speech, however with a more democratic and decentralised social media landscape, platforms would have to single-handedly confront hard content moderation decisions, and when faced with decisions on matters such as the Capitol Riots, they would have to make the decision to remove such individuals like Trump, from participating in their community.

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